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N P Blair, M M Rusin, E Shakin; The effect of pH on the transfer of fluorescein across the blood-retinal barrier.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1985;26(8):1133-1139.
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The blood-retinal barrier (BRB) might be governed by the same permeability principles as the blood-brain barrier (BBB). For a weak acid like fluorescein, BRB permeability would be proportional to its pH-dependent lipid solubility, according to the pH partition hypothesis. A range of metabolic acidosis was produced in 20 rats by the oral administration of NH4Cl; six additional rats received normal saline. Four hours later, vitreous fluorophotometry, venous fluorescein values, and arterial pH were measured. Significant linear relationships were found between vitreous fluorophotometry readings and blood hydrogen ion concentrations (p less than 0.025) and plasma fluorescein concentrations (p less than 0.05). According to the linear relationship, changing the pH from 7.4 to 7.3 or 6.9 would result in an increase in vitreous fluorophotometry reading of 8.5 or 72%, respectively. Since the pH partition hypothesis predicts values of 52 or 640% our results suggest that the BRB conforms less to the hypothesis than does the BBB. Furthermore, although pH changes of a magnitude able to influence vitreous fluorophotometry readings substantially may occur under experimental conditions in animals, they are unlikely to occur in ambulatory human patients.
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